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Best Famous Grandmother Poems

Here is a collection of the all-time best famous Grandmother poems. This is a select list of the best famous Grandmother poetry. Reading, writing, and enjoying famous Grandmother poetry (as well as classical and contemporary poems) is a great past time. These top poems are the best examples of grandmother poems.

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Written by Elizabeth Bishop |


 September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother sits in the kitchen with the child beside the Little Marvel Stove, reading the jokes from the almanac, laughing and talking to hide her tears.
She thinks that her equinoctial tears and the rain that beats on the roof of the house were both foretold by the almanac, but only known to a grandmother.
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child, It's time for tea now; but the child is watching the teakettle's small hard tears dance like mad on the hot black stove, the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother hangs up the clever almanac on its string.
Birdlike, the almanac hovers half open above the child, hovers above the old grandmother and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house feels chilly, and puts more wood in the stove.
It was to be, says the Marvel Stove.
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house and a winding pathway.
Then the child puts in a man with buttons like tears and shows it proudly to the grandmother.
But secretly, while the grandmother busies herself about the stove, the little moons fall down like tears from between the pages of the almanac into the flower bed the child has carefully placed in the front of the house.
Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove and the child draws another inscrutable house.

Written by |

Ride Away, Ride Away

Ride away, ride away,
  Johnny shall ride,
And he shall have pussy-cat
  Tied to one side;
And he shall have little dog
  Tied to the other,
And Johnny shall ride
  To see his grandmother.

Written by Anne Sexton |

45 Mercy Street

 In my dream, 
drilling into the marrow 
of my entire bone, 
my real dream, 
I'm walking up and down Beacon Hill 
searching for a street sign -- 
Not there.
I try the Back Bay.
Not there.
Not there.
And yet I know the number.
45 Mercy Street.
I know the stained-glass window of the foyer, the three flights of the house with its parquet floors.
I know the furniture and mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, the servants.
I know the cupboard of Spode the boat of ice, solid silver, where the butter sits in neat squares like strange giant's teeth on the big mahogany table.
I know it well.
Not there.
Where did you go? 45 Mercy Street, with great-grandmother kneeling in her whale-bone corset and praying gently but fiercely to the wash basin, at five A.
at noon dozing in her wiggy rocker, grandfather taking a nap in the pantry, grandmother pushing the bell for the downstairs maid, and Nana rocking Mother with an oversized flower on her forehead to cover the curl of when she was good and when she was.
And where she was begat and in a generation the third she will beget, me, with the stranger's seed blooming into the flower called Horrid.
I walk in a yellow dress and a white pocketbook stuffed with cigarettes, enough pills, my wallet, my keys, and being twenty-eight, or is it forty-five? I walk.
I walk.
I hold matches at street signs for it is dark, as dark as the leathery dead and I have lost my green Ford, my house in the suburbs, two little kids sucked up like pollen by the bee in me and a husband who has wiped off his eyes in order not to see my inside out and I am walking and looking and this is no dream just my oily life where the people are alibis and the street is unfindable for an entire lifetime.
Pull the shades down -- I don't care! Bolt the door, mercy, erase the number, rip down the street sign, what can it matter, what can it matter to this cheapskate who wants to own the past that went out on a dead ship and left me only with paper? Not there.
I open my pocketbook, as women do, and fish swim back and forth between the dollars and the lipstick.
I pick them out, one by one and throw them at the street signs, and shoot my pocketbook into the Charles River.
Next I pull the dream off and slam into the cement wall of the clumsy calendar I live in, my life, and its hauled up notebooks.

More great poems below...

Written by Etheridge Knight |

The Idea of Ancestry

 Taped to the wall of my cell are 47 pictures: 47 black
faces: my father, mother, grandmothers (1 dead), grand-
fathers (both dead), brothers, sisters, uncles, aunts,
cousins (1st and 2nd), nieces, and nephews.
They stare across the space at me sprawling on my bunk.
I know their dark eyes, they know mine.
I know their style, they know mine.
I am all of them, they are all of me; they are farmers, I am a thief, I am me, they are thee.
I have at one time or another been in love with my mother, 1 grandmother, 2 sisters, 2 aunts (1 went to the asylum), and 5 cousins.
I am now in love with a 7-yr-old niece (she sends me letters in large block print, and her picture is the only one that smiles at me).
I have the same name as 1 grandfather, 3 cousins, 3 nephews, and 1 uncle.
The uncle disappeared when he was 15, just took off and caught a freight (they say).
He's discussed each year when the family has a reunion, he causes uneasiness in the clan, he is an empty space.
My father's mother, who is 93 and who keeps the Family Bible with everbody's birth dates (and death dates) in it, always mentions him.
There is no place in her Bible for "whereabouts unknown.

Written by Nikki Giovanni |

Knoxville Tennessee

 I always like summer
you can eat fresh corn
From daddy's garden
And okra
And greens
And cabbage
And lots of
And buttermilk
And homemade ice-cream
At the church picnic
And listen to
Gospel music
At the church
And go to the mountains with
Your grandmother
And go barefooted
And be warm
All the time
Not only when you go to bed
And sleep

Written by Alice Walker |

When Golda Meir was in Africa

When Golda Meir
Was in Africa
She shook out her hair
And combed it
Everywhere she went.
According to her autobiography Africans loved this.
In Russia, Minneapolis, London, Washington, D.
, Germany, Palestine, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem She never combed at all.
There was no point.
In those Places people said, "She looks like Any other aging grandmother.
She looks Like a troll.
Let's sell her cookery And guns.
" "Kreplach your cookery," said Golda.
Only in Africa could she finally Settle down and comb her hair.
The children crept up and stroked it, And she felt beautiful.
Such wonderful people, Africans Childish, arrogant, self-indulgent, pompous, Cowardly and treacherous-a great disappointment To Israel, of course, and really rather Ridiculous in international affairs But, withal, opined Golda, a people of charm And good taste.

Written by Marge Piercy |

Belly Good

 A heap of wheat, says the Song of Songs 
but I've never seen wheat in a pile.
Apples, potatoes, cabbages, carrots make lumpy stacks, but you are sleek as a seal hauled out in the winter sun.
I can see you as a great goose egg or a single juicy and fully ripe peach.
You swell like a natural grassy hill.
You are symmetrical as a Hopewell mound, with the eye of the navel wide open, the eye of my apple, the pear's port window.
You're not supposed to exist at all this decade.
You're to be flat as a kitchen table, so children with roller skates can speed over you like those sidewalks of my childhood that each gave a different roar under my wheels.
You're required to show muscle striations like the ocean sand at ebb tide, but brick hard.
Clothing is not designed for women of whose warm and flagrant bodies you are a swelling part.
Yet I confess I meditate with my hands folded on you, a maternal cushion radiating comfort.
Even when I have been at my thinnest, you have never abandoned me but curled round as a sleeping cat under my skirt.
When I spread out, so do you.
You like to eat, drink and bang on another belly.
In anxiety I clutch you with nervous fingers as if you were a purse full of calm.
In my grandmother standing in the fierce sun I see your cauldron that held eleven children shaped under the tent of her summer dress.
I see you in my mother at thirty in her flapper gear, skinny legs and then you knocking on the tight dress.
We hand you down like a prize feather quilt.
You are our female shame and sunburst strength.

Written by Katherine Mansfield |

Butterfly Laughter

 In the middle of our porridge plates
There was a blue butterfly painted
And each morning we tried who should reach the
butterfly first.
Then the Grandmother said: "Do not eat the poor butterfly.
" That made us laugh.
Always she said it and always it started us laughing.
It seemed such a sweet little joke.
I was certain that one fine morning The butterfly would fly out of our plates, Laughing the teeniest laugh in the world, And perch on the Grandmother's lap.

Written by Robert William Service |

The Mother

 Your children grow from you apart,
 Afar and still afar;
And yet it should rejoice your heart
 To see how glad they are;
In school and sport, in work and play,
 And last, in wedded bliss
How others claim with joy to-day
 The lips you used to kiss.
Your children distant will become, And wide the gulf will grow; The lips of loving will be dumb, The trust you used to know Will in another's heart repose, Another's voice will cheer .
And you will fondle baby clothes And brush away a tear.
But though you are estranged almost, And often lost to view, How you will see a little ghost Who ran to cling to you! Yet maybe children's children will Caress you with a smile .
Grandmother love will bless you still,-- Well, just a little while.

Written by Maria Mazziotti Gillan |


 I imagine them walking down rocky paths
toward me, strong, Italian women returning
at dusk from fields where they worked all day
on farms built like steps up the sides
of steep mountains, graceful women carrying water
in terra cotta jugs on their heads.
What I know of these women, whom I never met, I know from my mother, a few pictures of my grandmother, standing at the doorway of the fieldstone house in Santo Mauro, the stories my mother told of them, but I know them most of all from watching my mother, her strong arms lifting sheets out of the cold water in the wringer washer, or from the way she stepped back, wiping her hands on her homemade floursack apron, and admired her jars of canned peaches that glowed like amber in the dim cellar light.
I see those women in my mother as she worked, grinning and happy, in her garden that spilled its bounty into her arms.
She gave away baskets of peppers, lettuce, eggplant, gave away bowls of pasts, meatballs, zeppoli, loaves of homemade bread.
"It was a miracle," she said.
"The more I gave away, the more I had to give.
" Now I see her in my daughter, the same unending energy, that quick mind, that hand, open and extended to the world.
When I watch my daughter clean the kitchen counter, watch her turn, laughing, I remember my mother as she lay dying, how she said of my daughter, "that Jennifer, she's all the treasure you'll ever need.
" I turn now, as my daughter turns, and see my mother walking toward us down crooked mountain paths, behind her, all those women dressed in black Copyright 1998 © Maria Mazziotti Gillan.
All rights reserved.

Written by Louise Gluck |


 My mother's playing cards with my aunt,
Spite and Malice, the family pastime, the game
my grandmother taught all her daughters.
Midsummer: too hot to go out.
Today, my aunt's ahead; she's getting the good cards.
My mother's dragging, having trouble with her concentration.
She can't get used to her own bed this summer.
She had no trouble last summer, getting used to the floor.
She learned to sleep there to be near my father.
He was dying; he got a special bed.
My aunt doesn't give an inch, doesn't make allowance for my mother's weariness.
It's how they were raised: you show respect by fighting.
To let up insults the opponent.
Each player has one pile to the left, five cards in the hand.
It's good to stay inside on days like this, to stay where it's cool.
And this is better than other games, better than solitaire.
My grandmother thought ahead; she prepared her daughters.
They have cards; they have each other.
They don't need any more companionship.
All afternoon the game goes on but the sun doesn't move.
It just keeps beating down, turning the grass yellow.
That's how it must seem to my mother.
And then, suddenly, something is over.
My aunt's been at it longer; maybe that's why she's playing better.
Her cards evaporate: that's what you want, that's the object: in the end, the one who has nothing wins.

Written by Louise Gluck |


 In our family, there were two saints,
my aunt and my grandmother.
But their lives were different.
My grandmother's was tranquil, even at the end.
She was like a person walking in calm water; for some reason the sea couldn't bring itself to hurt her.
When my aunt took the same path, the waves broke over her, they attacked her, which is how the Fates respond to a true spiritual nature.
My grandmother was cautious, conservative: that's why she escaped suffering.
My aunt's escaped nothing; each time the sea retreats, someone she loves is taken away.
Still she won't experience the sea as evil.
To her, it is what it is: where it touches land, it must turn to violence.

Written by Eugene Field |

The fly-away horse

 Oh, a wonderful horse is the Fly-Away Horse -
Perhaps you have seen him before;
Perhaps, while you slept, his shadow has swept

Through the moonlight that floats on the floor.
For it's only at night, when the stars twinkle bright, That the Fly-Away Horse, with a neigh And a pull at his rein and a toss of his mane, Is up on his heels and away! The Moon in the sky, As he gallopeth by, Cries: "Oh! what a marvelous sight!" And the Stars in dismay Hide their faces away In the lap of old Grandmother Night.
It is yonder, out yonder, the Fly-Away Horse Speedeth ever and ever away - Over meadows and lanes, over mountains and plains, Over streamlets that sing at their play; And over the sea like a ghost sweepeth he, While the ships they go sailing below, And he speedeth so fast that the men at the mast Adjudge him some portent of woe.
"What ho there!" they cry, As he flourishes by With a whisk of his beautiful tail; And the fish in the sea Are as scared as can be, From the nautilus up to the whale! And the Fly-Away Horse seeks those faraway lands You little folk dream of at night - Where candy-trees grow, and honey-brooks flow, And corn-fields with popcorn are white; And the beasts in the wood are ever so good To children who visit them there - What glory astride of a lion to ride, Or to wrestle around with a bear! The monkeys, they say: "Come on, let us play," And they frisk in the cocoanut-trees: While the parrots, that cling To the peanut-vines, sing Or converse with comparative ease! Off! scamper to bed - you shall ride him tonight! For, as soon as you've fallen asleep, With a jubilant neigh he shall bear you away Over forest and hillside and deep! But tell us, my dear, all you see and you hear In those beautiful lands over there, Where the Fly-Away Horse wings his faraway course With the wee one consigned to his care.
Then grandma will cry In amazement: "Oh, my!" And she'll think it could never be so; And only we two Shall know it is true - You and I, little precious! shall know!

Written by Kimiko Hahn |

In Childhood

 things don't die or remain damaged 
but return: stumps grow back hands, 
a head reconnects to a neck, 
a whole corpse rises blushing and newly elastic.
Later this vision is not True: the grandmother remains dead not hibernating in a wolf's belly.
Or the blue parakeet does not return from the little grave in the fern garden though one may wake in the morning thinking mother's call is the bird.
Or maybe the bird is with grandmother inside light.
Or grandmother was the bird and is now the dog gnawing on the chair leg.
Where do the gone things go when the child is old enough to walk herself to school, her playmates already pumping so high the swing hiccups?

Written by Mark Van Doren |

Our Lady Peace

 How far is it to peace, the piper sighed,
The solitary, sweating as he paused.
Asphalt the noon; the ravens, terrified, Fled carrion thunder that percussion caused.
The envelope of earth was powder loud; The taut wings shivered, driven at the sun.
The piper put his pipe away and bowed.
Not here, he said.
I hunt the love-cool one, The dancer with the clipped hair.
Where is she? We shook our heads, parting for him to pass.
Our lady was of no such trim degree, And none of us had seen her face, alas.
She was the very ridges that we must scale, Securing the rough top.
And how she smiled Was how our strength would issue.
Not to fail Was having her, gigantic, undefiled, For homely goddess, big as the world that burned, Grandmother and taskmistress, frild and town.
We let the stranger go; but when we turned Our lady lived, fierce in each other's frown.